Today Iggy Pop turns 64, and the current and former James Newell Osterberg, Jr. is still making people a fraction of his age look and sound like croaking senior citizens.
Blessed with a tolerance of life that probably rivals only that of Lemmy and Keith Richards, the man continues to play with the legendary Stooges, most recently for a tribute to late member Ron Asheton in Detroit, which we would have sold half our record collection to be at. Seriously, Henry Rollins even sang with them on "I Got A Right."
Of anyone in the Detroit rock scene and the later punk revolution those Motor City cats would help usher in, no one would have expected Pop to live this long, but his hearty stock has made him now an elder statesmen of rock and roll.
For his age, he still looks pretty handsome too, though he probably feels like an iguana to the touch now. Fun fact: his first band was called The Iguanas, and he was the drummer, which explains the percussive quality of his live performances.
Our earliest memories of Iggy Pop can be traced back to his cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Real Wild Child" on the Problem Child soundtrack. Yeah, that's not as cool as getting a hand-me-down copy of Raw Power on vinyl from your older brother or father, but it did the job. After that, we noticed him as Nona's dad, Mr. Mecklenberg, on The Adventures Of Pete & Pete on Nickelodeon. He hated canoes.
As we got older, we became immersed in all things Stooges, after hearing the band on other movie soundtracks, the random story in Rolling Stone and various British music magazines, and the testimonials of other rock legends who would name-drop them in interviews.
The first Stooges album we bought with our own money was Raw Power, with that bloody, gnarly mix from 1996 that Pop unleashed on the post-grunge world. The deal was sealed.
Discovering his solo work is to take a history lesson in the artistic journey and redemption of Pop himself. The work on Kill City with James Williamson, the David Bowie years, his early-'80s flirtation with New Wave, the late-'80s standard bearer that couldn't quite find his market, up to the '90s, when he reclaimed his aggression with a series of albums that even saw him veering into jazz. By the halfway point of the '00s, he was reunited with the Stooges and all was right in the world.
If we made a greatest hits of the Stooges, it would merely be all their albums put together into one playlist. We would throw you The Stooges, Fun House, Raw Power, and a host of bootlegs and tell you to swim. With his solo stuff, you have to sift and search for yourself.
Sadly, Rdio doesn't have 1982's Zombie Birdhouse in its album roster, but please search it out if you have time.
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